Publication Digital Health and Care 7 April, 2021

Time to update: Moving away from legacy IT in healthcare

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This event-write up brings together the ideas generated at Reform and Amazon Web Services’ policy hackathon ‘Time to update: Moving away from legacy IT in healthcare’.

Nowhere is the issue of legacy IT better exemplified in the public sector than in healthcare. The Health Secretary, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP has said that the NHS is “the world’s most frustrating place to work for its IT”. Its “clunky, clunky, clunky” legacy technology means that outdated IT systems keep data locked-in and impede the sharing information. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a crucial reminder of the importance of having and being able to share accurate information for operational decision-making in real-time. 

Technology offers huge potential for the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients and make the system more effective.  However, to deliver this bold vision, it needs to get the basics right. This means understanding what the key blockers are to moving away from legacy technology and creating practical solutions remedying them.

On 11th March 2020, Reform, in partnership with Amazon Web Services, held a virtual Policy Hackathon on the topic of “Time to update: Moving away from legacy IT in healthcare”. The event convened a group of leading experts including NHS Chief Digital Officers, Chief Digital and Information Officers, Chief Clinical Information Officers, clinicians, industry leaders, and senior policy makers to propose solutions to specific challenges identified in legacy migration projects. This event-write up presents a summary of the main solutions discussed by attendees.

Hackathon participants were asked to work through specific policy challenges across three domains:

  • Risk
  • People, skills and ways of working
  • Value for money

Reform and Amazon Web Services would like to extend its thanks to participants of the Policy Hackathon for their work and ideas to make this document possible.